Theodore Roosevelt Biography Sample
Type of paper: Biography
Topic: Franklin Roosevelt, Politics, Theodore Roosevelt, President, United States, America, Policy, War
Theodore Roosevelt was a skilled, talented and farsighted politician. Strong, energetic, adventurous, he was the master of dealing with people — with groups and with individuals. Roosevelt is the first president in the American history who worked as present-day politicians. He simplified all the problems the society faced, he was an active reformer with ambitious plans however, the implementation of those plans was always interrupted by some mysterious factors. Theodore Roosevelt set an example of messianic service to society, truth, law, justice; however, at the same time he remained humble and indifferent to the wall of circumstances that prevented the realization of his best ideas. Theodore Roosevelt contributed a lot in the formation of the US foreign policy. He moved away from the traditional focus on the domestic market, and used conditions that appeared as a result of the accelerated development of capitalism in the US during the last century, to introduce the country to the world. Roosevelt’s presidency marked the beginning of the American Imperialism era. At the beginning of the XXth century for the first time in its history America made considerable efforts to take its place among the Great Powers of Europe. Theodore Roosevelt also forced the abandonment of the old isolationism policy, and went on rapprochement with the European countries what had consequently led to the US involvement in the World War I on the side of the Entente Powers. He had made lots of attempts to achieve a balance of forces with Japan however, it did not have a long-lasting effect, and, as a result, a couple of decades later his relative President Franklin D. Roosevelt faced Pearl Harbor.
Born on October 27, 1858 in a fairly wealthy family the young Roosevelt received a good upbringing. As a child Theodore suffered from asthma and short-sightedness, and only thanks to his father he compensated the permanent physical disability with physical training. Thus, starting from his childhood, Roosevelt formed an iron will and an unwavering desire to achieve his goals. When Roosevelt was a child, he travelled a lot with his family, so he learned the culture of Europe and Egypt what in the future had a big impact on his policies. In 1873, the young Roosevelt spent several months in Germany, where he learned how to speak German.
In 1876 Roosevelt entered Harvard University. After the graduation, the future president returned to New York, his native town, where he continued to study law and history. In 1881 Theodore Roosevelt published his first book — "The Naval War of 1812" which marked the beginning of his multifaceted historical and literary activities. In the same year he was running for the Republican Party in the parliamentary elections in New York State. In 1895 Roosevelt was appointed as chief of police in New York City, and in 1897 — as an Assistant Secretary of the Navy. There he had an opportunity to get to know the US security policy better, as well as to focus on the process of creating the fleet.
A year later, in 1898 started the Spanish-American War. Roosevelt wanted that war, since he understood that in case of the victory America would strengthen its positions in the Western Hemisphere. He also was aware of the fact that the war was an unsurpassed change to express himself. So he went to the military service where he formed his battalion, and by the end of the war he began to gain popularity, and became one of the war heroes. «Elected governor of the state of New York in 1898, he invested his two-year administration with the vigorous and businesslike characteristics which were his hallmark».(nobelprize.org 2015) However, he did not spend a lot of time occupying that position, and due to his popularity Roosevelt was nominated by the Republican Party for the position of the Vice-President. On March 4, 1901, the newly assigned vice president delivered his famous inaugural speech: «We belong to a young nation, already of giant strength, yet whose political strength is but a forecast of the power that is to come. We stand supreme in a continent, in a hemisphere.»(Theodore Roosevelt 2012)
«With the assassination of President William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, not quite 43, became the 26th and youngest President in the Nation's history (1901-1909).» (whitehouse.gov 2015) As a president Roosevelt decided to completely use the power of this post for achieving all of his political goals however, he also did not forget about the arrangement of his personal life. Having moved his family to the White House, he ordered some major repairs and the restoration of the original simplicity of the building. Also during the Roosevelt’s presidency the White House was expanded by the completion of the new wing. After all the repairs were made the doors of the White House were open to representatives of any strata of the society. There was also one occasion that had a tremendous impact on Roosevelt’s popularity among the masses. In 1902 during the hunt Theodore Roosevelt regretted to kill a little bear. This incident became so popular that American toy factories started manufacturing soft bears, naming them «Teddy Bears,» which remain popular until today.
In December 1901, Roosevelt informed the Congress that his policies would be focused on the implementation of various reforms and ensuring the social stability in the country. As for the foreign policy Roosevelt concentrated on conducting the «Monroe Doctrine» and the construction of the fleet. State control over the giant trusts was the center of Roosevelt’s political reforms, and in 1903 he called it the concept of the «Fair Deal.» Roosevelt knew that the US could not give up the big companies if the country wanted to survive in the international competition. His struggle against the powerful industrial «rulers of the country» concerned only the «black sheep» among them, companies which, in his opinion, abused the rules of free competition out of pure selfishness and greed. He believed that only through the state control the society could take that unfavorable situation under control. The «good» companies, on the contrary, proved that they were not only interested in the profit maximization, but also they tried to benefit the society.
Other reforms included the creation of the Department of Commerce and Labor in 1903 which was supposed to control all the economic enterprises that operated on the national level. All the freight rates of the private railways were regulated, and also all the gross violations in the process of the manufacturing of food products and pharmaceuticals were eliminated. Of course, the radius of those measures was limited, however the reforms were quite popular among the masses. Roosevelt behaved very reserved in a particularly sensitive issue of economic policy on customs tariffs, even though he was personally convinced that the reform was needed. This was a concession to the conservative wing of his party which in 1897, marked the beginning of the extreme policy of protective duties.
As it was already mentioned, when it came to the foreign policy of Theodore Roosevelt, his main goal was to make the US one of the most important and prestigious countries on the international arena. He was confident that the export of American values would have a positive impact on other countries. «TR's diplomatic maxim was to "speak softly and carry a big stick," and he maintained that a chief executive must be willing to use force when necessary while practicing the art of persuasion. He therefore sought to assemble a powerful and reliable defense for the United States to avoid conflicts with enemies who might prey on weakness. Roosevelt followed McKinley in ending the relative isolationism that had dominated the country since the mid-1800s, acting aggressively in foreign affairs, often without the support or consent of Congress.» (millercenter.org 2015)
Theodore Roosevelt was definitely not a spiritual pioneer of the US. However, due to his personal integrity, energy, and political closeness to reality he became one of the most popular presidents of the United States. He had charisma which overlapped his weaknesses, and allowed him to become a bright figure in the American history. «Roosevelt's engaging personality enhanced his popularity. Aided by scores of photographers, cartoonists, and portrait artists, his features became symbols of national recognition.» (npg.si.edu 2015)
One can argue whether or not Roosevelt can be numbered among the greatest presidents, but it is undeniable that he delighted thousands of Americans and somewhat influenced America, the country we know today. It is tremendously useful to study the biography of Theodore Roosevelt in order to understand the topical problems of today, since today’s America began to form during his presidency. And one thing is certain: the activities of Theodore Roosevelt can be considered as a milestone in the internal and external political transformation of American capitalism.
«American President: Theodore Roosevelt: Foreign Affairs». Millercenter.org.
Accessed April 1, 2015.
«Theodore Roosevelt - Biographical». Nobelprize.org. Accessed April 2, 2015.
«Theodore Roosevelt: Icon Of The American Century». Npg.si.edu. Accessed April 2, 2015.
Roosevelt, Theodore. Compilation Of The Messages And Papers Of The Presidents Section 2 (Of 2) Of Supplemental Volume: Theodore Roosevelt. Tredition, 2012
«Theodore Roosevelt». Whitehouse.gov. Accessed April 2, 2015.